By David Fong
Miami Valley Today
COLUMBUS — When the moment she spent so many years dreaming of finally came, it still felt like a dream to Annah Stanley.
“It feels surreal,” said Stanley, the lone senior on the Troy High School girls 4×100 relay team that finished sixth in the Division I state meet Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. “It’s even better than I thought it would be. I always imagined being up on the podium. Until you get up there, you don’t realize how amazing it’s going to be.”
It was an incredible run to the end of the season for the 4×100 team of Stanley, sophomore Brennah Hutchinson and freshmen Hannah Falknor and Kiersten Franklin, who finished in 48.15 seconds. Lakokta East won the event in 45.82 seconds, setting a new state record in the process, while Princeton was second (46.97 seconds). Lakota East, Princeton and Troy will compete in the Southwest Region.
Before Saturday’s race, Troy coach Kurt Snyder had Hutchinson, Falknor and Franklin — all members of Troy’s 4×200 relay team, which also qualified for state — run full sprints, to simulate normal meet conditions, which typically calls for all three to run the 4×200 prior to the 4×100.
“Coach had us running sprints before our race, which really got us warmed up and ready,” Hutchinson said. “I think it really helped us. It feels pretty darn good to place here.”
Falknor, a two-time state placer in junior high school, said her first year competing at the varsity level, and ending it on the podium at the state meet, exceeded all of her expectations.
“I never expected to get this far,” she said. “We all worked so hard to get here and it’s good knowing we are finishing the year like we did.”
Franklin said the Trojans ran nearly a perfect race to get to the podium.
“We started off good and we finished good,” she said.
Nicholas places eighth
The best is yet to come for Piqua freshman sprinter Camilla Nicholas.
And that’s saying something considering how good she already is.
Nicholas, who had the ninth-fastest qualifying time in the 400 preliminaries at the state meet, moved up one spot in the finals to claim the eighth and final spot on the podium Saturday, finishing in 57.60 seconds.
“It feels unbelievable, honestly,” Nicholas said. “I knew I had the ninth-best time coming in, so I had to beat at least one girl to get on the podium. Honestly, I was probably more relaxed (Saturday) than I was Friday (during the prelims). I was just proud of how far I had already gotten. I just wanted to come out and run my race.
“Right around the halfway point, I noticed a girl over my shoulder. I think that helped give me an extra push to get to the end.”
Because of a 3.5-hour lightning delay Friday, Nicholas didn’t run her preliminary race until almost 10 p.m. After running Friday, she went and got something to eat before heading back to her hotel with friends and family.
“We went out and got Tommy’s Pizza,” she said. “Then when we got back to the hotel, my best friend and I went down and got some ice cream.”
After winning a medal at state as a freshman, Nicholas said she hopes to spend the next three years climbing the podium.
“One day I hope to make it all the way to the top,” she said.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong.
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